Robotic process automation (RPA) helps organizations to better navigate the complexities of achieving and maintaining compliance in the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape.

RPA works by automating repetitive tasks such as compiling testing results or alerting employees that a certain remediation step needs attention. That automation streamlines business processes, reduces the chance of human error in a business process, and allows employees to focus on more strategic work that allows the business to prosper.

RPA is one of several technologies, along with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), that all work together to create intelligent automation of rules-based, repetitive tasks. Given the demands of modern corporate compliance — demands not likely to recede any time soon — embracing such technologies can help organizations to maintain their compliance programs, and to create long-term sustainability and scalability of an organization.

In this post, we’re going to take a deeper dive into what RPA looks like as it relates to compliance automation and the considerations that revolve around implementing RPA in your business. 

What is robotic process automation? 

Robotic process automation is a type of business process automation technology that uses software robots to automate tasks and business processes, at high volume, that historically have been performed by human workers. 

The automation technologies used by RPA tools are meant to replicate back-office workflows such as data extraction, data entry, form fills, sharing files, and so forth. It employs user interface (UI) interactions and APIs to execute repetitive tasks, thus freeing human resources to use their time in a more productive way.

Moreover, workflow automation for compliance has the added bonus of helping to streamline and enhance parts of the compliance process such as data analysis, risk assessment, document gathering, and more. 

Automation of business processes also enables CIOs and stakeholders to accelerate digital transformation throughout the business, and to create greater long-term viability for the organization as a whole. 

What are the benefits of robotic process automation?

The benefits of RPA, include:

  • Improved accuracy: Using RPA solutions to automate workflows and tasks greatly helps to reduce human error that often occurs with manual processes. That’s crucial for compliance; inaccuracy and mistakes can result in costly fines and lost revenue. 
  • Cost savings: Using RPA for your repetitive tasks means you can forgo the extra manpower, and accompanying costs, typically required.
  • Improved employee morale: By reducing the tedious parts of their workload, your team members will be able to focus on more mission-critical tasks, thoughtful decision-making, and greater productivity for all business units. 
  • Existing systems can remain: With RPA in place, there’s no need to rip out existing systems or tools; RPA simply acts as a layer on top of your current applications, helping them to better communicate and achieve tasks behind the scenes while your employees tackle more important activities. 

How does RPA make compliance tasks easier?

One of the most prominent benefits of RPA compliance software is the simplification of workflows. In fact, RPA can increase the velocity and efficiency of your compliance program by reducing legal issues, improving employee and customer retention, and enhancing business operations. Below are a few examples. 

  • Greater oversight: Instead of outsourcing, RPA automation tools allow businesses to take more control over its operations and keep them under one roof, because RPA software bots’ actions can be saved, logged, reviewed, and monitored at any time. 
  • Achieve a higher degree of compliance: Once a process has been automated, it can be done over and over, without fear of human error — whether the process is a data transfer, invoice processing, or something else. A greater level of accuracy lends itself to an improved compliance posture, as well as more efficient business processes.
  • Improved auditability: Compliance audits can happen at any time. Furthermore, audits required to achieve compliance can be quite expensive and time-consuming to prepare for. Which all means an organization must be thoroughly prepared for an audit. With compliance automation and its benefits for reporting, which include auto-logging tasks and processes, a record of when exceptions occurred, and how human intervention occurred. You have access to a flawless audit, ready whenever needed.

What types of processes is RPA best suited for?

RPA solutions are best suited for high-volume, manual, repetitive tasks and workflows. Examples include data entry and processing, archiving, data mapping, report generation, reconciliation, and data transfer.  

How do I make sure my RPA systems are compliant?

To ensure that any sensitive data or credentials used during RPA avoid unauthorized access or misuse, your organization can use the following guidelines. 

  • Remove sensitive data and privileged credentials from scripts and any insecure locations and move them to an encrypted, central location. 
  • Limit the RPA bots’ access by applying the lowest level of privilege, and assigning privileged access only when necessary to perform a specific task that requires access to a secure application or data source.
  • Secure access to your RPA technology by leveraging complex credentials,  monitored by RPA administrators; as well as by isolating and continuously monitoring RPA processes for suspicious activity. Create alerts that will terminate activity if any such activity occurs.

What is RPA-as-a-service?

To help relieve the burden of RPA implementation, Robotic Process Automation as a Service (RPAaaS) uses software that executes business processes on your behalf, as well as the monitoring of its workflows so you don’t have to. 

RPAaaS is an emerging service across many industries looking to digitally transform their workflows and processes. RPAaaS allows organizations to work smarter and standardize processes across multiple business units. Ultimately, this results in greater collaboration across the business and removal of siloe s— which enhances productivity, improves the customer experience, and creates greater efficiency in supply chains. 

How to Determine RPA Considerations by Framework and Use Case

RPA will look different for every industry. What can and should be automated for healthcare is very different from the processes that could be automated in financial services. The implications for RPA risk management and cybersecurity will also vary depending on which frameworks your organization uses to achieve compliance. 

To begin, it’s important that you understand what’s required for your particular industry, the compliance standards you’re responsible for, and which tasks you can automate without risking non-compliance. Implementing RPA can be stressful enough without the uncertainty of whether you’ve checked all your compliance boxes.

That’s where ZenGRC comes in. ZenGRC’s governance, risk management, and compliance platform give you one-touch insights into the effectiveness of your enterprise risk management strategies as well as your overall compliance stance.

Its heat maps provide user-friendly, color-coded dashboards showing high, low, and medium risk areas within your organization — so you can take action to manage risk and ensure that all of your compliance requirements have been met.

Our software aligns with more than a dozen compliance frameworks and standards to help you map your risks and controls across frameworks, highlights any gaps, and tells you how to fill them. With clear visibility into your risk position and compliance requirements, you can plan for an effective, secure RPA that will take your business to the next level.

Worry-free compliance is the Zen way! To learn more about how ZenGRC can help your business, schedule a demo today.